We have all heard the advice that, when we are sick, we need to drink plenty of fluids, such as water or hot tea to stay hydrated. But how many fluids do we really need to drink to beat the disease? In this article we are going to provide you with important information about hydration when sick.
Although doctors recommend drinking plenty of fluids when you’re sick, the truth is that in fact there is no evidence that drinking large amounts of fluids helps with any disease.
It is normal to lose more fluids than usual when we are sick, which happens because of vomiting, diarrhea, and in case of fever, sweating. Moreover, the metabolism can be accelerated because the body is under increased level of activities. When you are sick, you may need additional hydration in order for the fluid level to be balanced.
Lack of fluids can affect the body’s ability to fight infections, and sick people may not notice subtle signs of dehydration such as dry lips, dry skin, headache, fatigue and decreased urination because they think it is a consequence of disease. Dehydration can be a consequence of that, when we are sick, we do not eat and do not drink.
However, intake of enough fluids will not directly affect the infection or to cure the problem. The liquid should be administered in order to re-establish a balance between electrolytes and blood volume – and thus hydration helps us when we are sick.
For most people it is recommended daily to drink eight glasses of water (2 deciliters per glass) whether sick or not, and you can slightly increase the amount of fluids if you feel unwell or have inflammation.
The key is in moderation and using your ability to estimate. You want to give your body what it needs to heal and to resist the disease. So focus on maintaining normal fluid intake and replenishment of fluids that you have lost, but do not exaggerate and drink too much of any liquid, says Laura Christine Lee, a doctor at the hospital Kings College Hospital in London.